We drop by to try the new aqua kyoto menu at Statement, featuring classics from its London flagship.
Hailing in from London's West End, aqua kyoto is offering a limited-time menu at Statement in Central's Tai Kwun. The British restaurant previously hosted the success of its Spanish pop up aqua nueva only months before.
One of London's favourite innovative Japanese restaurants, aqua kyoto is part of the Hong Kong-born Aqua Restaurant Group and is best known for its creative cuisine. Starting in April, the restaurant launched its pop up menu at Statement, an upscale British restaurant located in the heart of Tai Kwun. We entered the venue to be greeted with the signature warm ambience of the restaurant, updated with Japanese-inspired elements including traditional Washi paper umbrellas and calligraphy hung on the walls. After a warm introduction from restaurant manager Matteo Anzuinelli, we began our experience with refreshing cocktails.
Image courtesy of Adam Thompson | CSP Times
Taking an inventive twist on classic Japanese dishes, aqua kyoto entices and delights with its creative new menu. We began with four fresh dishes, each offering a new take on typical concoctions. Filled with salmon, avocado, smoked daikon alongside a creamy tobiko mayonnaise, the delicate maki (HK$138 for four pieces) was topped with beetroot caviar and red radish for a subtle acidity that blended well with its smoky flavours. Tucking into the miso-cured sea trout (HK$98 for four pieces), the dish was enhanced further when we discovered the origins of its creation. First, the fish is cured for 12 hours in a rich miso paste, before it's seasoned generously with roasted kombu and hijiki powder. Cooked using the gentle sous-vide method, the fish is then assembled on a pickled red onion and avocado purée before it's ready to taste with an embellished unami kizami katsuobushi (dried bonito).
A particular highlight for us, however, was the Wagyu beef gyoza (HK$98 for four pieces), a beautifully crafted hot dumpling reminiscent of Italian tortellini with a Japanese twist. Biting into the dumpling, the succulent Wagyu and its rich juices filled our mouths, paired with a spicy miso sauce made with kimchi, tomato and nashi pair for a modern rendition on traditional gyoza dipping sauce. We tried the cured red snapper with truffle (HK$118 for four pieces), a delicate finger dish wrapped with refreshing cucumber, chives and watermelon radish.
Out of all of the appetisers that we tried, we must point out a special favourite that topped the list for us in the aqua kyoto x Statement pop up. If you're stopping by to try the new menu, make a note to try the lobster tempura, jalapeno, cucumber and lobster miso maki—which is as scrumptious as it sounds and more.
We tried two mains from the menu. Succulent and exuding a melt-in-your-mouth appeal, the black cod with saikyo miso, tonburi, yuzu offered a subtly sweet uplift complementing the softness of the cod. There was no hint of fishiness in the dish which made a memorable contrast to some fish dishes that end up too overpowering.
We rounded up with two desserts—the Taiyaki waffles, a golden-brown fish-shaped waffle dish, each filled with a different flavour spanning chocolate, match and vanilla before it's topped with miso ice cream, and the Tokyo banana, a decadent sponge cake served with shiso lime and coconut sorbet.
Much to our delight, the aqua kyoto x Statement menu was better than we had hoped. Sometimes it can be difficult to master another restaurant's signature dishes, but at Statement, the chefs fulfil the London flagship's reputation. Hong Kong’s Head of Japanese Chef Iwahashi worked meticulously with London’s Head Chef Ken Miyake via the internet and hours of video calls to bring to life aqua kyoto’s eclectic style of cooking which stems from Chef Miyake’s unusual Japanese and Spanish up-bringing. The new pop up will be available until the end of July so book your tables in while you can.
aqua kyoto at Statement, Police Headquarters Block 01, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2848 3000, statement.com.hk